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Business-retention issue for community


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Support for the Marlins' stance in the Miami-Herald........

 

Business-retention issue for community

 

BY FRANK R. NERO

fnero@beaconcouncil.com

 

Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and his management team are being subjected to unfair personal criticism for making a painful business decision. What business leader would allow their business to lose money year after year without taking all necessary steps to correct the situation?

 

Loria purchased the Marlins saying he would field a quality team. He asked fans to support that team by attending games. He asked the community to support that team by joining him in building a new baseball park that the Marlins could then lease under better financial terms than at Dolphins Stadium.

Jeffrey Loria delivered. The Marlins have been competitive, bringing another World Series title to South Florida during Loria's second year as an owner. The Marlins have been contenders up to the end of their last two seasons. The Marlins put All-Star players (and coaches) on the field for fans to enjoy. The team owner has done everything he said he would do. But, he also said he could not support a money-losing team.

 

$192 million investment

 

This is a business-retention issue for our community, like Burger King Corporation and Ryder System. The Marlins create jobs and economic revenue for Miami-Dade County and South Florida. The team's presence here also has public relations and quality of life value. We must determine whether the revenue generated and the value created for our community is worth the effort to retain them.

 

Businesses losing money must act to reverse the trend. Some businesses choose downsizing. Some businesses choose relocation. Some businesses choose both. My experience is that many other communities actively court businesses this large and meaningful to a community. Other communities will put attractive, competitive financial incentive packages on the table for those businesses to consider. My experience is that those businesses will look at the best deal -- short and long term -- and make a decision that makes the best financial sense for them.

 

Game attendance has dropped dramatically since the Marlins first took the field in 1993, from 2.3 million attendees in 1993 to 1.8 million in 2005. That slide has continued in spite of two World Series titles. Only one other team has won more World Series titles in the past 10 years and that team is the New York Yankees. The same team that the Marlins defeated in the 2003 World Series.

 

This past season, the Marlins led Major League Baseball with 24 games delayed due to rain. Therein lies the need for a retractable roof for the proposed baseball park.

 

The park is needed to meet the financial needs of a team lacking many of the revenue streams of competitors, including parking, concessions, on-site advertising, etc.

Finally, Loria has stepped up to make a $192 million investment in a facility he will not own and guarantee payment of cost overruns.

 

Obviously, public funding for a baseball park is a difficult decision for elected officials considering the best interests of their constituents. Many are concerned about the outlay of public funds. I respect their position. This is a difficult public-policy issue.

 

Adjust or relocate

 

Baseball teams are businesses. Jeffrey Loria and David Samson are business people. They will review proposals, run numbers and make a business decision based upon the financial welfare of their business. You may disagree with how that business is run.

 

You may disagree with that business' value to our community. Well-intentioned people are trying to make the best decisions possible for their respective interests. There is no place for childish, personal insults.

If we can't support the team with attendance or by helping fund a new ballpark, then the team must make a market adjustment and/or relocate. If they choose to relocate, that is their decision. We will have to accept it. But, let's not criticize the same owner we were cheering a few short years ago.

Frank R. Nero is president and CEO of The Beacon Council.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/...on/13439997.htm

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The most important thing here is that finally the Beacon Council is taking a pro-Marlins position.

 

The Beacon Council represents the biggest of the big-wigs in South Florida and having the president of this organization come out so vocally on the Marlins behalf speaks volumes. Yes, it wasn't a ringing endorsement of a stadium and yes, you didn't hear him say "keep the Fish at any cost" but this is quantum leap forward in recognizing the value of having a major league franchise here.

 

Hopefully this is just the beginning of more and more influential people coming out to support the Marlins in their efforts to stay in South Florida.

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You may disagree with that business' value to our community. Well-intentioned people are trying to make the best decisions possible for their respective interests. There is no place for childish, personal insults.

 

A jab at Arriola? Sweet.

 

It would be a God-send to see the Miami-Dade business community take a Pro-Marlin stance.

 

It is a quality of life issue for the community. It's nice others outside the Miami City Government recognize this.

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